A Plant on The High Line That Caught My Eye

by rodneyeason

in Gardens To Visit, Plants

Last week I was sorting through some of my old photographs. I came across this one from a couple of years ago on the High Line in Manhattan. I had never seen this plant before so it grabbed my attention. It is called “false indigo” and the latin name is Amorpha fruticosa.

Amorpha fruticosa

After taking this picture, I swore that I would remember this plant and use it in the garden. To be honest, I totally forgot about it until coming across this photograph. I would like to use it this year but I am reading that it can be weedy. But I also read that it is native. So, it is an attractive, native weed that is showy enough to make the cut for one of the world’s most popular gardens, the High Line.

Amorpha fruticosa naturally grows along stream banks. It is in the legume family and has pinnately compound leaves like a black locust. If left unchecked, a shrub of false indigo could grow 12-15 feet tall. The roots of this plant are also nitrogen fixers.

I definitely would like to try growing Amorpha fruticosa because of these attractive, deep purple flowers, but feel that it should be in a location where I can keep a close eye on it. I just recall it being so striking and standing out among all of the other plantings on the High Line.

Have you ever grown Amorpha fruticosa? Do you like it and have you found it to be too weedy to keep in the garden?

-Rodney

Jane Marie January 8, 2013 at 7:01 pm

The leaves in the photo are false indigo, the flowers are not. I don’t find it to be a problem as in weedy in Nebraska. It only gets to be about 5H x 6W. The cool blue green color of the plant is delightful. And I like the black seed pods that follow the early spring flowers. Besides the indigo blue flowered variety there are white, yellow, & violet. It quite a striking sculptural plant. If this size is too big there is also a dwarf version.

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